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News: Surplus Calgary School to be Transformed into Cultural Workspace

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News: Surplus Calgary School to be Transformed into Cultural Workspace

For immediate release 
February 16, 2012

New Story for an Old School 
100-year old school to become a 21st century model for cultivating leadership, collaboration and creativity in Calgary

(Calgary, AB) – Calgary Arts Development and The Calgary Foundation today formally announced the purchase of the King Edward School site from the Calgary Board of Education.

King Edward School is a distinctive heritage building located on a three-acre site in South Calgary at 1720 – 30 Avenue SW. Built as one of nineteen sandstone schools between 1894 and 1914, the School is centrally located in the community of South Calgary.

The King Edward School site is the first of a future portfolio of spaces for cSPACE Projects. After five years of research, advocacy and planning, cSPACE Projects has been founded as a non-profit real estate enterprise dedicated to developing a network of multi-disciplinary creative workspaces across the city.

Responding to a call for proposals in 2010 to purchase the surplus school from the Calgary Board of Education, a unique partnership between The Calgary Foundation and Calgary Arts Development formed to advance a vision for the historic school and site as an innovative arts hub and incubator. As funders working across Calgary to build capacity and vibrancy in the arts and culture sector, Calgary Arts Development and The Calgary Foundation have mobilized to address a critical deficit of stable, affordable and compelling workspaces to create, rehearse, produce and collaborate in Calgary.

The vision for the King Edward School site is a sustainable, mixed-use hub that provides a dynamic and collaborative environment focused on the incubation and advancement of professional arts practice, social enterprise and community development in Calgary. The King Edward School project is intended to connect and enable nonprofit cultural organizations, the next generation of artists, social entrepreneurs and the neighborhood of South Calgary.

The property was formally transferred from the Calgary Board of Education to cSPACE Projects on December 2, 2011 for the amount of $8.027 million. The land purchase was supported by an $8 million loan from The Calgary Foundation, along with a $5 million grant from the City of Calgary’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative, which will contribute to the loan repayment. The Foundation also granted $3 million in multi-year funding toward the development of the project.

Current estimates for the adaptive reuse of the heritage school and additional new-build spaces related to the hub and incubator range between $19-21 million. While a major milestone has been achieved in the purchase of the site, a project of this magnitude is a complex, multi-year process. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2013.

An open house will be held in March 2012 to celebrate the purchase of the site, thank the community and allow a sneak peek of the heritage school before redevelopment.

A proposal call for hub tenants and incubator program partners will be circulated in the spring to identify and assess potential non- profit organizations, artists and social entrepreneurs to anchor the redevelopment.

Read more: Partner Statements and Project Backgrounder 

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